Sir Winston Churchill is something of a hero of mine. In general, I think it would be true to say that the western world has failed to truly appreciate Churchill’s immense significance in stemming the tide of Nazi Germany. World War II would not have been won by Britian and its allies without the USA becoming involved; but equally true is the fact that there may not have been a Britain to save without the leadership of Churchill. His speeches roused a nation looking defeat firmly in the face. His words put courage and backbone into a people who were heartbroken and disillusioned by the long, arduous, unrelating effects of war.
Words are containers of faith, hope and love, and of fear, disillusion or courage. Even as Hitler’s bombs caused broad devastation as they dropped on the major cities of England, desperate for some positive news, families huddled together in living rooms and basements and turned on their wireless radios to hear their leader Churchill. What they heard were the words of a man who was born for such a time as this. Singlehandedly, he brought calm and unwavering courage to the British people at the bleakest and most desperate of times.
I love something he said about democracy. In a speech made just over two years after he had been instrumental in helping Britain and the allied forces win the Second World War, in the House of Commons on November 11, 1947, Churchill said:
“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Outside of the kingdom of God, with Christ ruling and reigning, there is no “perfect” political system. Yet at least in a democracy, when the man at the top goes wrong, the people can vote him out. The nation does not have to wait until the death of the leader for the man to be removed from power. There are terms of office. In the USA, a person can only serve as President for two terms of four years at the very most. In this way, no leader in a democratic system can bring such ruin to a country, all by himself, that the nation cannot ever recover from the fierce consequences of his rule. Thank God for that!
My feet have walked in the former USSR and in China. These countries were two test case systems where Communism ruled supreme and no other philosophy was even tolerated. The fact that in both places, tens of millions of my Christian brothers and sisters have been imprisoned, tortured and killed, reveals the true face of atheistic communism. It is no friend but instead, a deadly brutal enemy of humanity.
Communism and its near relative of socialism can never succeed in bringing about prosperity amongst the people. The concept may have had noble intentions but it does not factor in the desperate condition of the human heart. The heart is deceitful above all things and that is why communism is morally, spiritually and physically bankrupt. It cannot deliver on its many promises because it fails to deal with the reality of man’s fallen selfish nature.
Communism used to say it could put a new suit on every man. Christianity says “Christ can put a new man in every suit.” Communism was never able to put new suits on the people for the simple reason that man’s nature, without the intervention of God is totally corrupt at heart. The men at the top of the ladder creamed all the wealth for themselves, living in luxury, while the masses starved. Much of the starvation was intentional policy, so that the common man might become so utterly and hopelessly dependent on the leader, that they would worship and serve him, in hopes that some small scrap of food might fall from his table. When the scraps were handed out, and when the only news people could hear was the leader’s own propaganda, the masses remained in oppressive subjugation to the few. To serve such a master was a hardship beyond compare, as each citizen came under the weight of tyranny.
Hear in contrast the words of the Savior, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy leaden and I will give you rest. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light, and you shall find rest for your souls.”
I am a U.S. citizen not by birth, but my choice. It was a very proud moment for me when I became a citizen of this great nation in February, 2003. I love the United States of America. I love democracy. Yet, I am under no illusion that by itself, democracy can relieve all the problems in this world. If the children of Israel were led by a popular majority, they would still be in the desert, searching for the promised land. People do not always want the righteous thing; the thing God wants. The Book of Judges teaches us this principle clearly, when there was no good King ruling in Israel, the people did what was right in their own eyes. Society often makes choices that defy the Lord and His revealed word. Just because 51% or more of the people desire to do a thing, it does not mean the thing is right or pleasing to the Lord. Right is right, no matter how unpopular it may be; wrong is wrong, no matter how popular it may be, and blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12).
As we live the life of a good citizen here, our prayer is not for a temporal fix to come, but that the ultimate and permanent answer to all our woes comes in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as He invades this world with power and great glory. Our prayer is “Even so come Lord Jesus.”
We pray this prayer because as Christians, we long for much more than good democracy. Our citizenship is in heaven. Though we love our country, we recognize it is one nation “under God.” We are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Our hearts pine for the Kingdom rule of God; a theocracy, where His kingdom comes and His will is done on earth, just as it is in heaven; where the Sovereign rule of King Jesus is seen; where the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Until that time, when the King returns to claim what is rightfully His, and when our faith shall be made sight, I believe Churchill got it right – “democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms.” We pray for God to raise up leaders amongst us who will want what God wants and who will serve His purposes for their generation.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…” – 1 Tim 2:1-3